From the previous sections we have found that, following Stiegler, humans’ origin and fate are marked by the necessity to compensate for our lack of unique qualities, through the pharmakon. However, technics and desire have already been corrupted by hyperindustrial capitalism, leading to a fate that is potentially catastrophic. This is so because our desires and energies are channelled by the industry towards consumption and, increasingly, they are filtered through digital tertiary retentions which particularise and deprive us of our singularity, affecting and colonising our imagination and libidinal energies. As such, our memory and body are under constant industrial assault of technicisation and industrialisation. Pressed to fit into pre-defined and manufactured particularities established within patriarchal capitalism, existence is reconfigured and threatened through expectations regarding aesthetics, attachment, and the manifestation of masculinity and femininity as binary, oppositional, heterosexist, hierarchical, and hyper-sexualised.

Insofar as the pharmakon always becomes manifest through technics and desire, gender is always technologically and libidinally sustained within the general organology’s political, libidinal and symbolic economies. Patriarchal and hyperindustrial desire, having become an object of consumption (that is, drives), perpetuates violence as well as the objectification and reification of human relationships. Conversely, feminist desire and its deproletarianising therapeutic technics seeks to dismantle the pathological drives of capitalist patriarchy. Feminist desire detaches passion/Eros from the despiritualised compulsion induced through the inherently sexist and disindividuating marketing and programming industries. Accordingly, were the University of Goldsmiths to follow a feminist ethic, it would welcome the otium of love undertaken by the research group and survivors who have struggled to make sexual harassment an issue to be opposed and discussed openly and publicly.

As a detour from this catastrophic tendency, Stiegler envisages that Digital Humanities and transdisciplinarity could explore changes in affects and desires influenced by new media, to transform existence and experience by transgressing imposed hyperindustrial (and patriarchal) particularisations. A new technical milieu and projections based on tertiary retentions could be cultivated through the university as a feminist transitional space concerned with a new ethics of spirit, driven by a concern with new laws and belief systems which exceed those of the economy.  The new university would be committed to a politics of liberation and self-actualisation, in which we are all contributors to ideal objects that would benefit the whole society and its noetic capacities. Thus, the university must be repurposed to open up new spaces of thought and praxis, to encourage excitement for ideas and the cultivation of new media-techno-scientific networks and social movements.

Knowing how to reason implies knowing how to desire, so overcoming proletarianisation necessarily involves revitalising the libidinal economy. We must consider a feminist pharmaco-organological practice informed by an ethics of love to encourage new subjectivities and sensibilities which do not reproduce domination. The therapeutic technics of spirit in a feminist economy of contribution would seek to heal the wounds and suffering which are currently perpetually inflicted upon societies, inasmuch as gender configures and is configured by the technological conditions (now digitalised) of the civil society. Feminist movements, the university and society more generally ought to think through the pharmakon of digital tertiary retentions to fundamentally alter desire, sensibility and otium, that is, to change the conditions of work and the value attached to it, and to create new criteria for valuing therapeutic care above and beyond the realm of negotium. Spontaneous and spiritual acts of care as otium fuelled by feminist desire would open up possibilities for the undecidable; for tensions which are not violent and antagonistic, but creative and playful, and which do not perpetuate aesthetic, libidinal and implicitly gendered inequalities. The search for transitional objects does not cease despite the most intolerable conditions in which we find ourselves, for without the promise, hope and anticipation of these objects, life would be unbearable.


hooks adopts the following definition of love as practice (not as a noun, as it is generally
defined within society): love is ‘the will to extend one’s self for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth’ (2000a:10). This definition greatly reflects and encapsulates the yearning for new therapeutic tertiary retentions presented in this dissertation. Love is a curative pharmakon which preoccupies us all, just as the pharmakon is ‘not merely an academic issue for learned philosophers: it obsesses each and every one of us’ (Stiegler 2013:4). To conclude, I will adapt hooks’ definition to our current transitional object of study. Accordingly, we must self-reflectively contribute the formation of noetic life through otium as a labour of love and as a will to create and adopt tertiary retentions as an extension of ourselves, for the purpose of nurturing solidarity and transindividuating spiritual growth. In doing so, the university as it is would necessarily be abolished. The student dissertation, then, would no longer be merely a form of assessment against industry- and academic-induced demands and criteria. Rather, it would be an artefact of otium fuelled by a desire to connect with ourselves and with the world more fully.